Creamy avocado pasta

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Pasta with peas and bacon

I was using the white back ground after a while. I love to work on white background. I feel it enhances the food better and you really don’t need to use more props. Keeping it simple and elegant.
Give me a bowl of pasta any time of the day and you see me happily gobbling it way and if its white sauce, more better.  Of the few pasta recipes that I treasure, this is one my favorite and trust me I am addicted to these. 
 
It’s easy to whip up, but please make sure that, once you add the egg-cream mixture to the pasta; do not overheat or cook for too long else egg will start to scramble.  And yes you can use any pasta of your choice.
 

You need –

  • Fusilli – 2 cups
  • Frozen peas – 1/2 cup
  • Streaky bacon – 100 grams, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese – 1/4 cup
  • fresh basil – finely chopped, 1 tablespoon (plus extra if you want to garnish)
  • Dried Italian herbs – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Whipping cream – 1/2 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Olive oil – 2 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 

How to-

Heat oil in a pan and add the Bacon. Cook until crisp and drain on a kitchen towel. Set aside.

In a sauce pan bring water to boil and add the peas. Cook till tender. drain and set aside. In mixing bowl , whisk together the egg, cream, Parmesan cheese and herbs. Add the cooked peas and mix well.

Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions or until al dente. Drain well and turn to the pan. Add the cream mixture and over a low heat and warm through, gently stirring. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn off the heat and add the bacon, basil and mix gently  and serve immediately.

 

Rosemary Focaccia

Focaccia is my favorite bread. With that generous dip into the olive oil is sure an indulgence for me.  Every time we are at an Italian restaurant this is something  I look forward to start off with and lucky some of the restaurant that we are regular at kind of know  this is my weakness and they never fail to give a few slices more 🙂
 
This is one of the easiest bread I have made, yes of course make sure your yeast is active else it can be a complete disaster and be prepared to knead the dough for almost 10 minutes. Ah! I have toned hands!
You need –
  • White bread flour – 500 grams
  • Salt – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Instant yeast – 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons plus extra for drizzling
  • Lukewarm water – 300 mls
  • Rosemary – 2 tablespoons
  • Fine sea salt
How to –
 
In a large bowl, put the flour, yeast and salt. Mix well. Now stir in the oil, water and knead to form a soft dough.
Turn the dough to a slightly oiled surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Put the dough back into the same bowl (lightly oiled), cover with a tea towel and let it sit to rise double in size in a warm place. Approximately about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Line two large baking sheets with grease proof paper. Turn the dough to a flour surface and cut into half. Flatten each portion on the baking sheet. cover and leave to rise again for an hour.

 

Gently press your finger into the dough to make deep holes all over and leave for a further 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle each loaves with rosemary and sea salt. Drizzle some olive oil and  bake for 25 minutes or till pale golden. Remove from the oven and drizzle some more olive oil.


Serve hot or warm.

Note –
  • If you are not sure if your yeast is still active, them prefer you do a proof test. Take half of the lukewarm water ( please make sure the water is not hot. Otherwise your yeast will die). Stir in the yeast along with a pinch of sugar and set aside for 10 minutes. If the form and bubbles foam on top in 10 minutes then your yeast is still active. Add this to the dough with remaining water as per the recipe.
  • The above recipe makes 2 loaves. If you do not want to use both loaves then freeze the other for later. Warm in the microwave before serving.
 

Asian style linguine


My weekday lunch is quick and one pot meal most of the time as it’s just me for lunch at home and too lazy for anything else. This is also the time when  the creative cook in me gets working with what is available and no referring to cook books or browsing for a recipe.

Most often  the base ingredient is left over rice, pasta or noodles. And then loaded with veggies. Also there is another ingredient that is used very often “the sambal chili paste “(guess you know that by now). It comes so handy especially for fried rice, noodles and stir-fries. Options are many. They add so much depth to a simple dish. If you ask me its a must have in your pantry.


Here’s another simple, great tasting recipe (if I can say that myself) that was just born out of curiosity to cook Italian, the Asian way 🙂



You need –
  • Linguine – 200 grams
  • Egg – 2,  Scrambled
  • White button mushroom – 200 grams, thinly sliced
  • Shallots – 3, finely chopped
  • Garlic – 1 large clove, minced
  • Sambal chili paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil – 3 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley to garnish



How to –
Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet.

Heat oil in a pan on medium-low flame, add the garlic. saute the garlic briefly making sure not to burn the garlic. Add the chopped shallots and cook till translucent. Add the sambal chili paste, salt to taste and saute for a couple of minutes or till fragrant.



Add the mushrooms and continue to cook till done. Add the cooked pasta and egg and mix well. 

Season with pepper and Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Serve immediately.



Beef vermicelli cake

This is one of the cake I cut for my birthday the other day. Sure was a treat, as we at home love Italian.  With that gooey cheese on top and the meaty inside, this is nothing less I would want on a special day. Happy day! GIORNO FELICE!

You need –
  • Vermicelli – 200 grams
  • Grated parmesan cheese – ½ cup
  • Grated mozzarella cheese – ½ cup

 To make the meat sauce –
  • Onion – 1, finely chopped
  • Garlic – 1 clove, finely chopped
  • Minced/ground beef – 250 grams
  • Canned chopped tomatoes – 400 grams
  • Ground oregano – ¼ teaspoon
  • Dried basil – ¼ teaspoon
  • Red wine – 1.5 tablespoon
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To make the white sauce
  • Salted butter – 50 grams
  • All-purpose flour – ¼ cup
  • Milk – 1 cup

How to –

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Grease a round 8 inch spring form cake tin.
Cook the pasta in rapidly boiling salted water till al dente. Drain well and set aside.


Heat oil in heavy bottom pan, add the onion, garlic and cook till tender. Add the minced beef. With a wooden spoon break up the beef and cook till brown. Add the tomato, wine, basil and oregano.  Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Reduce the heat and cook for 15- 20 minutes. Set aside.

To make the white sauce, heat a sauce pan and melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook till pale. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minutes.  Turn off the heat.



To assemble –


Spread half of the vermicelli into the cake tin as the base. Layer half of the meat sauce over to form the second layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and press down with your palm of your hand. Top the remaining meat sauce, pour the while sauce and sprinkle the cheese.  Into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Let the cake rest for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges  to serve.


Free-form mushroom lasagne and a little of my daughter…


I love Italian! Infact it’s one of my favorite cuisine. All of us at home love Italian especially my 5 year old daughter who asks for pasta or risotto every other day:) She  is not much into spicy food but makes an effort in tasting anything new before saying no or yes.   I am happy she is getting to be more interested with cooking and food in general. Sits with me to watch some of the shows on TV; Giada and Nigella are her favorites. Why? Because they both look like fairies 🙂 .

               

Daughters are beautiful… She is my best friend now and I am her’s at least she tells me that now 😉 it’s a beautiful relationship! She speaks what I think.. She understands my silence.. She is growing up to be a beautiful daughter…!!! But then let me warn you she is loudness personified and loves to talk non-stop. Ask her why she talks so much and so loud ?! Because her dad has asked her to speak her mind..;) LOL. Well then sometimes it’s an absolute embarrassment like the other day  as we were checking out of the super market, Saana (BTW that’s her name) picked up a bar of chocolate and told me she wants to pay herself. I gave her 5$ and she ran to the check-out counter; in her loudest best she asked the staff at the counter “are you the pay girl..?!!” The staff went red on her face and people who heard her burst into laughter… N i stood there frozen not knowing what do n say!!! She goes again” are you the pay girl at the cash register? I need to pay for my chocolate…!” Sign!! ah! 

And yes I missed, she is absolutely crazy about cars. Loves to watch the Auto shows and knew all the car logos when she was 1.8 years old. Here’s a video I would like to share 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbYr3Ms3oGM

And the recipe, I think this is just perfect if you want to have a light lunch. Its simple and easy to make. Actually I think any leftover stir-fries in the fridge you if you have, would be a good idea to fill in too… 

You need –
  • Button mushrooms – 250 grams, thinly sliced
  • Salted butter – 2 tablespoons
  • Small onion – 1, thinly sliced
  • Chopped fresh thyme – 2-3 sprigs
  • Egg Yolk – 1
  • Thick cream – 50 mls
  • Parmesan cheese – grated, 3 tablespoons + extra for garnishing
  • Lasagne sheets – 4

How to –

Heat the butter in a frying pan. Cook the onions till soft. Add the thyme and mushrooms. Cook till soft. Add 2 tablespoons hot water and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with pepper and set aside.

Beat the egg yolk, cream and 3 tablespoons of cheese in a bowl.  Cook the lasagne sheets in boiling water till al dente. Drain well and toss the sheets through the egg mixture while hot. Be gentle so you don’t tear the sheets.

To serve, place the sheet on a plate, place some mushroom mixture on half of the sheet and fold the sheet into half gently. Drizzle the remaining egg mixture and sprinkle grated cheese over the lasagne and serve.



Bruschetta with tomatoes and basil

Bruschetta with tomatoes and basil
You need –
  • Tomatoes – 3, large
  • Bread – 4 slice firm textured bread
  • Garlic cloves – 2
  • Basil leaves – 2 sprigs plus additional for garnishing
  • Extra virgin olive oil – ¼ cups
  • Salt and pepper – as per taste
How to –
  • Cut the tomatoes into half, sprinkle with salt and set them upside down for 15-20 minutes to drain.
  • Toast the bread until golden brown or until dry n crispy
  • Rub the slices with garlic. Season with salt, pepper and drizzle with half the oil.
  • De-seed and chop the tomatoes in small cubes.  Mix the tomatoes & chopped basil leaves.
  • Arrange them on the toast and Drizzle the remaining oil and serve.

Fish and Peas Risotto

Here is my version of Fish and Peas Risotto.

Fish and Peas Risotto
You will need
  • ·Butter – 1 ½ tbsp
  • Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Fish (prefer fish with less Odder) cut into cubes– 500 grams
  • Onion finely Chopped – 1
  • Garlic Clove – 1
  • Arborio Rice – 1 cup
  • Dry white wine – ½ cup
  • Vegetable broth – 3 cups
  • Frozen Peas – ¾ cup
  • Fresh Cream – 2 tbsp
  • Juice 1 lime
  • Chopped Parsley – 2 tbsp
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
How to-
  • Heat the butter and oil in a heavy bottom pan, add the fish cubes and sauté until light golden brown on all sided. Please do not burn the fish as this can completely change the flavor of the dish. Once done transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Saute onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes or till translucent.
  • Add the rice and saute till the grains are translucent approx about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine and cook till it evaporates. Now add the hot broth ½ cup at a time, stirring and adding the next when the last addition has been absorbed.
  • Add the peas and cook for 15-20 minutes or till the rice is soft.
  • Add the fish, cream, lime juice, parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
    Combine and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and Serve hot.

Pasta alla Carbonara

Who invented this dish??!! Well who ever did, has sure invented a classic. The art of making a perfect carbonara is finding the right point when raw eggs are added to the cooked pasta, are no longer liquid but yet cooked and creamy.

Pasta alla Carbonara
You need –
  • Bacon slices – 150 grams
  • Spaghetti (you also use linguine, fettuccine, rigatoni or bucatini) – 500 grams
  • Eggs – 4
  • Heavy cream – ½ cup
  • Grated parmesan cheese – 3/4 cups
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoon or as required.
  • Salt and pepper – as per taste.

How to-
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until done.
  • In pan heat oil and cook the sliced bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  • Beat the eggs, cream in bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese and combine.
  • Drain the pasta and add the bacons. On a low heat, add the egg mixture. Mix vigorously to coat the pasta evenly and the eggs cook but still creamy.

Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Pasta alla Carbonara

Please note – as soon as you add the egg mixture, work quickly to toss everything together. Ensure you don’t let the eggs cook too much otherwise they will start to scramble. Eggs should be at room temperature to start. I have used linguine.